Monday, 12 May 2014

Magnitude 4.2 Earthquake on the Cape St. Vincent Ridge, west of Portugal.

The United States Geological Survey has reported a Magnitude 4.2 Earthquake at a depth of 15 km on the Cape St. Vincent Ridge, about 300 km to the west of the coast of southern Portugal, slightly after 1.45 pm GMT on Sunday 11 May 2014. While this is a moderately large quake it occurred a long way offshore in an area where it was unlikely to cause a tsunami, so there is no danger from this event, and it is highly unlikely that it was felt by anyone.

The approximate location of the 11 May 2014 Cape St. Vincent Earthquake. Google Maps.

The Cape St. Vincent Ridge runs along the boundary between the African and European plates to the east of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. This is currently an area of expansion, with the two plates moving apart along this part of the boundary and new seafloor being created by the upwelling of magma from the mantle and its extrusion as a new area of crustal material, the Azores Microplate. This is not a smooth process, and can lead to occasional Earthquakes.

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